Archive forCool Tools

Help! I need to put my paper in Chicago style!!!!

Are you trying to figure out Chicago (or APA, or MLA, or SBL) or any other style your final paper needs to be put in and don’t know how?  Consider using Zotero to help you with this task, even if you have already typed your paper. The original post on Zotero in Library 411 says it all: “it will make  your life a whole lot easier,” especially as you are juggling all the deadlines the end of the semester brings with it.

Trust me (and the several students I’ve helped over the past two days), taking the 15 to 20 minutes to follow the directions below result in a big time saving for you.  One student’s comment was “How did I not know about this before?”

Once you add your sources to Zotero, you can use it to create the final bibliography (with a tweak from you) and your in-text citations, footnotes, or endnotes without adding stress to your writing process.

You’ll need the following software:

  • Firefox web browser
  • Zotero plug in for Firefox
  • Zotero word processor plug ins (for Word for MS Office or Macs, or Open Office)

all of these are available from the Zotero guide’s Home Page.

Follow the directions in the Zotero Guide to:

  • Create a free Zotero account (which will let you syncronize your library regardless of what computer you’re working on)
  • Create a “Collection” folder for the paper you are working on and be sure to have that folder highlighted in your list of folders (even if its the only one for now).

After you do these things, gather your list of books, articles, websites, blog posts, etc.  It’s helpful to sort them by type of source (book, journal article, web site, etc.).

Next, you’ll search for the books, articles, and web pages, etc. which you used in your paper.  For this you’ll need to use BearCat (for the books), the various journal article databases (like EBSCO’s Academic Search Complete), and Firefox (for websites you used) to find then add each source to the Zotero collections folder.  Look at the Zotero guide’s tab “Saving Citations” for directions on this.

  • Check each citation as it is added to Zotero to be sure that the title or some other part of the information isn’t in all capitals or has some other quirk.  You can change these “errors” in the entry for each item so that you won’t have to change each citation or bibliography entry individually
  • Choose and set your citation style preference to MLA, APA, Chicago, or whatever style your paper needs to be written in

Now you can add in your in-text citations, footnotes, etc., and your bibliography.  No matter how many items you have in your Zotero folder for this paper, the final bibliography will include only the items you’ve included as citations in your paper.

The only final task you’ll need to do manually is to make sure you place your bibliography on a separate page and give it the proper heading name for the citation style you are using (Works Cited, References, Bibliography, etc.).

See below for some videos on how to get your resources into Zotero as well as how to cite and create bibliographies for your paper.


Google Art Project

If you haven’t already checked out Google Art Project, drop whatever you’re doing and head there now! –> With GAP, you can explore important museums from around the world. Go on a virtual tour and examine hundreds of works of art, many at amazingly zoomed levels (closer than the guards would let you get to the real thing!) You can also create and share your own collection of artwork from the galleries you visit.

Screen shot: Google Art Project site

Creatively using Google’s well-known “street view technology” from Google Maps, you can virtually walk around the museums, seeing the art just as you would if you were visiting the museum in person. There’s a great visitor’s guide that explains how the GAP works, gives you a behind the scenes look at how GAP was created.

Museums currently involved in the project are:
Alte Nationalgalerie, Berlin – Germany
Freer Gallery of Art, Smithsonian, Washington DC – USA
The Frick Collection, NYC – USA
Gemäldegalerie, Berlin – Germany
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, NYC – USA
MoMA, The Museum of Modern Art, NYC – USA
Museo Reina Sofia, Madrid – Spain
Museo Thyssen – Bornemisza, Madrid – Spain
Museum Kampa, Prague – Czech Republic
National Gallery, London – UK
Palace of Versailles – France
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam – The Netherlands
The State Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg – Russia
State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow – Russia
Tate Britain, London – UK
Uffizi Gallery, Florence – Italy
Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam – The Netherlands


All the words fit to print – and then some most excellent stuff

I’m going to start this post with one of my favorite language stories.

If I called you a “nice person” you’d feel that was a complement, right?  Ah, but that’s by today’s standard.  For Chaucer to call someone a “nice” person was to say that person was foolish, silly, or ignorant.  Both Chaucer and Shakespeare could also use it to describe someone as “wanton” or “dissolute” (think of the Prodigal Son, here).

The resource, par excellence, for exploring the past use of words in English is the Oxford English Dictionary (OED).  Not only does this dictionary give you the definitions of words, but it will cite the word’s use in that sense as used in literature, letters, and other documents down through the years.  For many years while doing my doctoral research I had the compact OED on my shelf and consulted it frequently as I worked with Middle English and Middle Scots literature.  I should explain that the compact OED compressed the original 12 volume  into 2 and came with a magnifying glass – which you didn’t want to lose or you’d have quite a time reading the very small print.

Compact Oxford English Dictionary

The OED has a long and distinguished history as a reference tool (I’ll list of a few of the books written about it below) and now it has been “relaunched” as an online product: Oxford English Dictionary Online.  Now, not only can you search for meanings of words, you can find out which authors and publications are the most cited in the quotation examples; you can see, through the “Timelines” section, which decade/half-century had the most new words introduced into the English language; and you can search for “loan words” from other languages that have become part of the English language.  The “Historical Thesaurus” section will let you explore the changing use of a word by concept through time and language shifts . . .  

But enough of my rambling on.  Time to go play and explore.  I’ve developed a small intro “quiz.”  If you’d like to take it I have a surprise for two folks who complete the quiz correctly (random drawing from all correct entries). Here’s the link:  “Quiz” deadline is February 11th; surprises announced on February 13th.


Interesting Reads on the OED (BearCat links where available; Amazon where not):

Berg, Donna L. A Guide to the Oxford English Dictionary. 1993.  Part II, the “Companion” includes notes on people important to the development of the OED, the sources used, and interesting facts.

Gilliver, Peter, et al. The Ring of Words: Tolkien and the Oxford English Dictionary. 2006.

Shea, Ammon. Reading the OED: One Man, One Year, 21,730 Pages. 2008.

Willinsky, John.  Empire of Words: The Reign of the OED. 1994.

Winchester, Simon.  The Meaning of Everything: The Story of the Oxford English Dictionary. 2003.

Winchester, Simon.  The Professor and the Madman: A Tale of Murder, Insanity, and the Making of the Oxford English Dictionary. 1998.

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Zotero will make your life easier!

Zotero is a free, easy-to-use tool that will make your life a whole lot easier.

Zotero is an add-on for the Firefox web browser that allows you to quickly collect, manage and cite your research resources. With one-click you can download citation information for books from BearCat, Amazon, or another library catalog, articles from a large number of the databases the Baylor Library subscribes to, like Jstor, Academic Search Complete, Science Direct or IEEE (for starters!). You can also collect citation information for newspapers, videos from YouTube, pictures from Flickr, or even archive web pages that you have found for your research.

After you download your citations, you can manage them with categories or tags; sort them by title, author or date added; and search for your resources using an iTunes like interface right in your web browser.

And if that’s not enough to send you into fits of joy, you can also drag and drop your resources into Microsoft Word, or any other word processing program (Google Docs, your email, etc.) to automatically format the resource into the proper citation style format – MLA, APA, Chicago (there are literally thousands to choose from with Zotero!) You can also download word processor plugins to seamlessly integrate your Zotero library with Microsoft Word or Open Office to format in-text citations and generate a bibliography when you are writing papers.

Check out this screencast which will introduce you to all the great features of Zotero:

If you’d like to learn more, you can check out the Baylor Library research guide on Zotero, or come to one of the introductory workshops at the library in the next few weeks.

Workshop times:

  • Thursday, January 27, 4-5 pm
  • Wednesday, February 2, 3:30-4:30 pm
  • Tuesday, February 8, 4-5 pm

Sign up for the workshop time of your choice here.


Dropbox: Sync and Share Files Online Easily

Dropbox is a fabulous tool that lets you easily sync your files online across different computers and mobile devices. Currently you can get 2 GB of storage for free (you can get more space if you upgrade to a paid account) which is a great deal! With Dropbox, you can save your file to the Dropbox folder on one computer and it’s instantly available on another! You can also create shared folders with other Dropbox users when working on group projects.


Dropbox is a great tool for students who need to get access to files easily or who are working on group projects. Check out the features here. The software is available for Mac, PC and Linux computers and there are currently mobile apps for iPhone, iPod, iPad and Android devices. So you can get access to your documents and files from wherever you may be!


And that’s not all! (Do we sound like an infomercial yet?) Lifehacker is reporting today that Dropbox has an ever better deal for students! You can get up to 500 MB more storage for each referral from a .edu address.

Have any of you used Dropbox? If so, leave a comment and let us know what you use it for and what features you like the best.

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Zotero adds PDF storage


Zotero, the free, open-source citation management software, which many of us are fans of at Baylor announced today that they have just added free online file storage of up to 100 megabytes, and the option to purchase even more storage (1 gig is $20/year, which is not bad). They still support WebDAV storage too, which means you can store the PDFs you have downloaded into your Zotero account in BearSpace (which is 1 gig of storage for free).

For information about working with Zotero and for upcoming workshop dates, check out the Zotero research guide.


Finding Data Sources

The great info visualization blog Flowing Data has a great post today listing places to find data, including universities, news organizations, sports, geographic, world, politics & government and general sources.

You can find more data resources in the library’s Electronic Resources Directory. In the advanced search, choose “Datasets” under “Resource Type” and click on “Show Resources.”


Use Wolfram|Alpha to Make College Easier

Wolfram|Alpha made a splash on the internet when it was released this past year. In fact, some claimed it would be a “Google-killer.” But the creators of Wolfram|Alpha disagreed. They have other plans for their website than just being a search engine:

Wolfram|Alpha’s long-term goal is to make all systematic knowledge immediately computable and accessible to everyone. We aim to collect and curate all objective data; implement every known model, method, and algorithm; and make it possible to compute whatever can be computed about anything. Our goal is to build on the achievements of science and other systematizations of knowledge to provide a single source that can be relied on by everyone for definitive answers to factual queries.

Wolfram|Alpha aims to bring expert-level knowledge and capabilities to the broadest possible range of people—spanning all professions and education levels. Our goal is to accept completely free-form input, and to serve as a knowledge engine that generates powerful results and presents them with maximum clarity.

Wolfram|Alpha is an ambitious, long-term intellectual endeavor that we intend will deliver increasing capabilities over the years and decades to come. With a world-class team and participation from top outside experts in countless fields, our goal is to create something that will stand as a major milestone of 21st century intellectual achievement.

Grand plans, yes, but as they work at their long-term goal, there are some immediate benefits to what Wolfram|Alpha can offer its users – specifically students. They highlighted this on their blog the other day, “highlighting examples of how Wolfram|Alpha can make subjects and concepts a bit easier to learn.”

Check out how Wolfram|Alpha can help you with in your Chemistry class:

They also list ways to help you with Engineering, Calculus, and even Spring Break plans and battling the Freshman 15. I’d encourage you to check out Wolfram|Alpha and see for yourself what kind of computational power it has. Feel free to post any cool examples in the comments.



pubmed-ex-logoI just learned about PubMed-EX, a new Firefox Addon which performs text-mining on any record in PubMed and provides additional background information on key terms in little pop-up boxes. A great feature if you regularly search PubMed, and especially if you sometimes get overwhelmed with all the scientific terms you find as you search PubMed.

Below is a screenshot of what this great addon can do as you search PubMed:



Follow us on Twitter


The Libraries at Baylor are now twittering! If you want to find out information about library events, learn about new library services or policies, and follow some interesting links, follow us here.


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